Highlights from the American Journal of Public Health: February 2013 issue

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Highlights from the American Journal of Public Health:

February 2013 issue

AJPH News Release

EMBARGOED UNTIL December 13, 2012, 4 PM (EST)

 

CONTACT: For copies of articles or full table of contents of issue, call Kim Short, 202-777-2511, or email Kimberly.Short@apha.org.

The articles below will be published online Dec. 13, 2012, at 4 p.m. (EST) by the American Journal of Public Health ® under “First Look” at http://www.ajph.org/first_look.shmtl, and they are currently scheduled to appear in the February 2013 print issue of the Journal.  “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association, www.apha.org, and is available at www.ajph.org.

 

American Journal of Public Health Highlights:

1)  Same sex legal marriage is associated with psychological well-being.

2)  For Medicaid children, more well baby visits may lead to earlier first dental exams.

3)  School prevention programs and high cigarette prices could curtail high school smoking.

 

1)  Same-sex legal marriage is associated with psychological well-being.

Psychological distress is lower among lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals who are in same sex marriages compared with those not in legally recognized unions, according to new findings published in the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers acquired data from the 2009 California Health Interview Survey, a population-based survey, consisting of participants between the ages of 18 and 70. An analysis reviewed measures of psychological distress, legal relationship status and socio-demographic controls.

In addition to findings indicating lower psychological distress particularly among those in same-sex marriages, the study also shows that there are no statistically significant differences in psychological distress between heterosexuals and same-sex married lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals and lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals in registered domestic partnerships.

“Mental health benefits of same-sex marriage might be derived from a heightened sense of social inclusion concomitant with the social institution of marriage,” authors of the study explain. 

“The findings presented here offer empirical evidence that, as with heterosexual marriage, same sex marriage appears to be positively associated with psychological well-being in lesbian, gay and bisexual persons, and that same-sex marriage might help to diminish the known mental health disparity between heterosexuals and lesbian, gay, and bisexual persons,” the study’s authors conclude.

The study’s authors recommend that researchers should continue to examine the potential health benefits of legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide and conclude that same-sex marriage in the U.S. is at least in part a public health concern. 

[From: “Same-Sex Legal Marriage and Psychological Well-Being: Findings From the California Health Interview Survey.” Contact: Richard G. Wight, PhD, Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health, Los Angeles, Calif., rwight@ucla.edu]

 

2)  For Medicaid children, more well baby visits may lead to earlier first dental exams.

For young children in Medicaid, more well baby visits to the doctor may indicate a greater likelihood of earlier first dental exams, according to a new study published by the American Journal of Public Health.

Researchers analyzed data from 6,322 children, up through their age of 3, enrolled in the Medicaid program. Focusing on children receiving preventive care, the study tested three hypotheses: (1) whether more well baby visits would lead to earlier first dental exams; (2) whether earlier first well baby visits were correlated with earlier first dental exams; and (3) if other social and behavioral factors were correlated with earlier first dental exams.

Results showed that frequency of well baby visits between the ages of 1 and 3 were a predictor of earlier first dental visits.  Children who received more well baby visits between the ages of 1 and 2, and 2 and 3 were 2.96 and 1.25 times as likely to have earlier first dental visits, respectively. However, the number of well baby visits before age 1 did not show a correlation with earlier dental visits.  This finding notes a cause for concern as the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that children have a first dental examination by age 12 months. Additional results from the study showed that children whose mothers used preventive dental care prenatally were 1.4 times as likely to have earlier first dental visits and that children who visited with the same medical provider were also more likely to have earlier first dental visits.

“Because children are more likely to visit a physician for preventive care than a dentist by age 12 months, well baby visits are a point of intervention to train physicians and nurses to recommend first dental examinations for all children by age 12 months,” the study’s authors explain.

 

“Medical office-based preventive interventions should incorporate intensive training to help medical providers overcome knowledge barriers and increase their confidence in providing oral health-related anticipatory guidance,” the authors of the study suggest.

 

[From: “Relationship Between Medical Well Baby Visits and First Dental Examinations for Young Children in Medicaid.” Contact: Donald L. Chi, Department of Oral health Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Washington, Seattle, Wash., dchi@uw.edu]                

 

 

3)  School prevention programs and high cigarette prices could curtail high school smoking.

 

School smoking prevention programs and high cigarette prices are two effective approaches that can contribute to lower smoking prevalence among high school students according to a new study published in the American Journal of Public Health.  The Project Impact study was created to identify the relationship between teen smoking and the surrounding school and community environments.

 

The study included 24,474 grade 10 and 11 students from 51 Canadian secondary schools. Researchers measured school-level smoking behaviors using the School Health, Action, Planning and Evaluation System. The study also observed school campuses and their surrounding environments, collected school data regarding smoking policies and prevention and cessation programs. Demographic and bylaw information regarding the municipality were also obtained for the study.

 

Results indicate that a school is more likely to have a lower smoking prevalence if it has strong tobacco prevention program and there are higher cigarette prices in the community surrounding the school.  Of additional significance was the study’s finding that no other school characteristics, including non-smoking policies, were associated with school smoking prevalence. Other findings, resulting from demographic research, found municipalities with a higher proportion of immigrants and those with higher education levels had a lower smoking prevalence.

 

“Together these findings suggest that effective school-based approaches to reducing smoking among teens need to consider the broader school and community environment,” explain the study’s authors.  They note that although smoking rates have fallen, schools need to continue focusing on higher pricing and tobacco control programming to maintain low smoking rates over the long term.  Based on the findings from this study those schools with low rates had mandatory prevention programs, provided multiple opportunities for programming and integrated the topic into the curriculum.

 

“Lessons learned from this research will be relevant for countries developing tobacco control programs as well as those countries now turning their focus to other youth health issues such as physical activity, nutrition and mental health,” the authors conclude.

 

[From: “School and Community Predictors of Smoking: A Longitudinal Study of Canadian High Schools.” Contact: Chris Lovato, School of Population and Public Health, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, chris.lovato@ubc.ca]                                                                                                                                                                                         

The American Journal of Public Health is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association ® (APHA), the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world.  APHA is a leading publisher of books and periodicals promoting sound scientific standards, action programs and public policy to enhance health.  More information is available at www.apha.org.

 

Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media.  Address inquiries to Kimberly Short at APHA, 202-777-2511, or via email, Kimberly.Short@apha.org.  A single print issue of the Journal is available for $35 from the Journal’s Subscriptions department at www.ajph.org/subscriptions.  If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single issue access is $30 and online single article access is $22 at www.ajph.org/.  If you would like to order or renew a subscription, visit www.ajph.org/subscriptions, or for direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email ajph.subscriptions@apha.org.

 

To stay up-to-date on the latest in public health research, sign up for new content e-mail alerts at www.ajph.org/subscriptions/etoc.shtml?ck=nck.

 

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